Pickleball welcomes new players in Las Vegas — VIDEO

It seemed like somebody had made a mistake a few weeks ago when a group of racket sports fans gathered on the pool and tennis deck of the Plaza to knock a few balls around.

Instead of standard tennis rackets, they found oversized paddles that resembled pizza peels, wiffle-like balls that kids might play with at a family picnic, and tennis courts that just seemed slightly off-kilter.

But all was well, because the game they came to play was pickleball, an amalgam of pingpong, badminton and tennis that no less than NBC News has called one of the fastest-growing sports in America.

The odd name is perfect for an all-ages game that incorporates the strategy and skills of other racket sports but doesn’t require powerful shots to win. In fact, Isaac Johnson, a tournament competitor and instructor for the Plaza’s pickleball clinics, says pickleball is “very patience-oriented.”

Several parks in Southern Nevada have pickleball courts. At the Plaza, a renovation of the pool and tennis deck about 18 months ago included the installation of 12 pickleball courts, as well as a tennis court that can be converted into four more.

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel says all he knew about pickleball was that it was “some sort of cross between tennis and badminton and pingpong.”

Then he met some players. “I was blown away by their passion and love for the game,” Jossel says. “I said, ‘I’m going to build a facility here.’ ”

Jossel says the Plaza is the only pickleball-ready hotel in town, and it has hosted a few tournaments. A few weeks ago, it also hosted the first of two scheduled pickleball mixers — the second is scheduled for Thursday, with instruction at 5 p.m. and play beginning at 6 — at which the curious can learn about the game and try their hand on the courts.

In addition, the Plaza and Las Vegas’ parks and recreation department will host weekly pickleball scramblers at the Plaza starting Jan. 11. The courts are available to locals for daily open play.

Sam Brooks, 33, lives in downtown Las Vegas and saw a flier for December’s mixer at his condo building. It was his first pickleball experience.

“It was fun,” Brooks says. “I kind of fell for a minute, but I got back in and kept playing.”

Pickleball has “a lot of the same fundamentals as tennis and pingpong,” adds Brooks, who plans to stop by again to learn more about the game.

For Linda Williams, 60, of North Las Vegas, pickleball’s appeal is “cardio and fun people.”

“We used to play tennis, but we can’t do that anymore,” she says. “There’s too much running around.”

Felton Hyche, a North Las Vegas ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association, has been playing for about three years. Hyche, 67, is a golfer and tennis player, and initially rebuffed his wife’s suggestion to give pickleball a try after she had tried and enjoyed it.

“It’s a very strange name,” he says. “It scares you.”

But Hyche discovered that the game gave him a good workout. He enjoys the fun and competition, and says it even has helped him to lose weight and get off of his hypertension medications.

“And here’s a crazy thing. I am not a social person at all. If there is a group, I will walk away and go sit in the corner,” Hyche says. “But this game is an extremely social game because you’ve got four people playing and you’re laughing and joking. It’s wonderful.”

About that name …

According to the USA Pickleball Association, pickleball was invented in Washington state during the summer of 1965 by three dads whose kids had become bored with the usual summer games.

Why call it “Pickleball”? One account, according to the association, holds that one of the inventors’ wives called the game pickleball because the combination of sports used to create it brought to mind “the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Another story, this one from one of the inventors, holds that the sport was named after another inventor’s family dog, Pickles, who’d chase and run away with the ball.

Pickleball boot camp

To promote local interest in pickleball and teach players the fundamentals of the game, the Plaza this month will kick off a series of monthly pickleball boot camps taught by professionals.

The first, scheduled for Jan. 19-20, will feature pros Ben Johns and Christine McGrath. Classes are limited to 30 participants, and the $300 cost includes a meet and greet, four hours of instruction per day, lunches, tickets to the Scintas show, discounted room rates, gaming vouchers and a steakhouse discount.

To reserve, email pickleball@playlv.com

The Plaza also is finalizing a large-scale pickleball tournament that would be held in September.

The event would be similar in scope to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, which are to be held in Florida in April. Details are to be announced.

Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cabana Market Shooting -- Persons of Interest
On February 3, 2018 at approximately 1:57 p.m., patrol officers were dispatched to a parking lot located in the 3900 block of East Owens Avenue to investigate a report that a man had been shot. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like